I don’t even know where to start with this recap other than to say this was such an awesome race!! I had built this one up so much in my head that I had been nauseous for DAYS, I mean I’d been running but I definitely did not stick to my training plan. Oopsie? The night before I tried really hard to just relax, but of course I want to fuss over everything when I’m stressed out. I ran down to the expo on Saturday and grabbed my bib, I did a few laps around and talked myself down from buying anything because I wanted EVERYTHING. I did stick around and play with the kitties at the ARL booth and say hi to the Greyhounds.
I made sure I ate something carbaliciously familiar the night before and somehow managed to get an awesome night’s sleep. I woke up at 6:30 and at a pumpkin english muffin (who knew those existed?!) with peanut butter, a bottle of water, and a banana. Then I paced around my house for several hours. I finally decided to head to the starting line super early because I thought it would be better to just stretch and people watch. As soon as I parked my car I realized that my phone armband thing was broken which was soooooooo annoying. The stupid velcro just came completely off so it wouldn’t stick together anymore. I guess if something had to go wrong on race day morning, I’m glad it was just that!
The starting line was insanity. This was by far the biggest race I’ve ever been to. The relay didn’t seem crowded to me because I started at an exchange point and the crowd was pretty small. It looked like this in front and behind me. I seriously could not stop people watching, I’m such a creeper! The crowd started slowly walking towards the starting line and I was so so so nervous because this race starts with a hill. As the people crossed under the start, the tempo picked up a little bit and they were blasting the song “Shout.” It was seriously the perfect time in the song as I started, the way the crowd was picking up speed at that exact moment – I seriously can’t even explain how awesome that feeling was! I was totally not nervous anymore and I killed it up the hill.
I felt like I was pacing myself pretty well, which was easy since it was so crowded. I tried to just find someone who looked experienced and was running around the same pace I wanted to be at, then just tried to stick with them! That worked like a charm for the first 2.5 miles. As we got into the Oakland, I was shocked that the first 1/3 of the race went so fast. I started to struggle around UPMC because I felt like my bladder was about to pop – luckily that’s right where the 5K starting line was so there were bathrooms available. I seriously wished there had been at least one other bathroom available before the middle of the race.
The second half of the race was a LOT harder than the first for me. It was getting really hot and there is not much shade from Oakland until you get downtown. I made sure to walk through every water station. The first actual walking break I had to take was right at the mile 5 marker because I started getting a side stitch. My legs felt like jelly as soon as I started walking so I kept telling myself to push through it because ain’t nobody got time for that. I think I SPRINTED down the hill on the Boulevard of the Allies and I knew I would be okay when I was still passing people as we pushed into downtown. I just remember thinking – “OMG, this is the coolest thing EVER!” as I ran into downtown. That was another big first for me!
As soon as I saw the finish line banner I gave it all I had and finished strong. I was actually kind of nervous at the mile 6 marker that I would be crawling across the timing mat because I was just so done at that point. Of course the crowds and the adrenaline wouldn’t let that happen though. :)
It was really disorientating after the finish line because it was just a massive crowd of confused, tired, sweaty, disoriented zombies wandering around a grassy knoll. I made a bee-line for the water station, which was really understaffed if you ask me. All I wanted was a banana and people would. not. move.
I grabbed 2 bananas and an apple and headed directly for a shady spot closer to the point and away from the crowds. I just laid there and couldn’t move. You know I’m just exhausted when there is a squirrel within 15 feet of me and I literally don’t react. (I do NOT like squirrels.) I laid in the grass, ate my apple, and listened to my favorite cool down music. I want to always remember those few minutes and that feeling:
It was seriously so awesome! My Garmin said I finished in 1:07:22, but my official time was 1:09:55. Since this is my first official 10K, I’m considering this my PDR race AND since I ran basically this same distance in the relay in May – it was a PR too! Just a great day all around and an absolutely awesome race. Definitely didn’t have the energy for a full smile though!
I took the shuttle back to the starting line where my car was and I will NEVER do that again. I underestimated how badly a city bus full of sweaty runners could actually smell. I will run this race again and again and again though!